Part of being organized is being prepared for when things go wrong — and with your computer, tablet, and smartphone things can go horribly wrong. That’s when you’ll be glad you’re doing backups.
Hard drives go bad
The hard drive that stores all the data on your computer won’t last forever. As John Gruber wrote:
Hard drives are fragile. … Every hard drive in the world will eventually fail. Assume that yours are all on the cusp of failure at all times. It’s good to be spooked about how long your hard drives will last.
And you may have no indication that your hard drive is failing until it’s too late, as Lorie Marrero found out:
I have always thought that you would have a little warning when a hard drive was going out — things would be slower, sluggish, acting strange. But this was here one second, gone the next!
Sometimes data can be recovered from a hard drive that has crashed, but that can be time consuming, expensive, or both. And file recovery is never a sure thing.
When your hard drive fails, you don’t want to be sharing a story like this one from journalist Andy Patrizio, on ITworld:
After two days of agony, I lost some downloaded files, nothing I can’t live without, and my entire Outlook contact list. Years of building up contacts, all gone.
Computers, tablets, and phones get lost or stolen
A Rutgers PhD student had his computer stolen, and it had five years worth of research data. A family dining in San Francisco had a laptop stolen from their car — the laptop had irreplaceable family photos. People leave their computers and phones behind on airplanes and may not ever get them returned. You can read sad stories like this all the time. Without backups, the files on those devices are gone forever.
Devices get lost in disasters
Joshua Peltz lost his cell phone, with all his movies of his 2-year-old daughter, when US Airways Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River in 2009.
Most of you will never be in such a horrific situation, and I hope you never experience a loss due to fire, tornado, or any other such disaster. But if such a tragedy were to occur, you wouldn’t want the situation to be made even worse because you lost all your digital photos and other precious files.
People delete files by mistake
I’ve seen people lose files with no idea what happened to cause the problem. Other times you do know — sometimes just seconds after pressing the wrong keys. I happen to use CrashPlan for my backup, and on Twitter I often see the company sharing tweets like this one from July: “So relieved I use CrashPlan. Folder of all wife’s photos accidentally deleted in April and only just noticed. Now restoring from backup!!”
Computers get infected with malware
Lincoln Spector of PC World wrote about this scenario:
A malicious program infects your PC and makes your documents and other important files inaccessible, then it pops up a message demanding money to get the files back. You’ve got a ransomware infection, and that isn’t good.
How do you get the files back without paying for them? That’s simple: Restore them from a backup. That is, of course, if you’ve been backing up daily.
Otherwise, this is going to take some work.
Recovering from a malware infection is more complex than I can get into, but having backups of your files would certainly reduce the panic level if you ever incur such a problem.